Match Stats/Report - Becker vs Ivanisevic, Stockholm final, 1994


Hall of Fame
Boris Becker beat Goran Ivanisevic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(4) in the Stockholm final, 1994 on carpet

It was Becker's 4th and last title at the event and he defeated the top 3 ranked players in the world in winning it (#3 Michael Stich in the quarters, #1 Sampras in the semis and #2 Ivanisevic). Ivanisevic had beaten Becker in the Wimbledon semis earlier in the year

Becker won 133 points, Ivanisevic 117

Both players serve-volleyed off all first serves. Becker serve-volleyed off all but 8 second serves, Ivanisevic 1

Serve Stats
- 1st serve percentage (66/116) 57%
- 1st serve points won (59/66) 89%
- 2nd serve points won (30/50) 60%
- Aces 22 (2 second serves)
- Double Faults 8
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (52/116) 45%

- 1st serve percentage (74/134) 55%
- 1st serve points won (59/74) 80%
- 2nd serve points won (31/60) 52%
- Aces 21 (2 second serves), Service Winners 4
- Double Faults 10
- Unreturned Serve Percentage (61/134) 46%

Serve Patterns
Becker served...
- to FH 42%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 7%

Ivanisevic served...
- to FH 40%
- to BH 51%
- to Body 9%

Return Stats
Becker made...
- 63 (30 FH, 33 BH), including 2 runaround FHs
- 3 Winners (3 BH)
- 36 Errors, all forced...
- 36 Forced (15 FH, 21 BH), including 1 runaround FH
- Return Rate (63/124) 51%

Ivanisevic made...
- 56 (20 FH, 36 BH)
- 3 Winners (1 FH, 2 BH)
- 30 Errors, comprising...
- 1 Unforced (1 BH)
- 29 Forced (11 FH, 17 BH, 1 Behind Back)
- Return Rate (56/108) 52%

Break Points
Becker 2/7 (6 games)
Ivanisevic 1/4 (2 games)

Winners (including returns, excluding serves)
Becker 30 (7 FH, 6 BH, 9 FHV, 7 BHV, 1 OH)
Ivanisevic 30 (4 FH, 7 BH, 4 FHV, 11 BHV, 4 OH)

Becker had 19 from serve-volley points
- 8 first 'volleys' (4 FHV, 2 OH, 2 FH at net)
- 9 second volleys (4 FHV, 4 BHV, 1 OH)
- 2 third volleys (1 FHV, 1 BHV)... the BHV has been included on a shot that most likely bounced twice before opponent hit a FH error

- FHs (all passes) - 1 cc, 1 dtl, 2 inside-out (1 at net) and 1 inside-in/cc
- BHs (all passes) - 3 cc (1 return, 1 net chord clipper) and 3 dtl (2 returns)

Ivanisevic had 20 from serve-volley points
- 10 first 'volleys' (3 FHV, 5 BHV, 1 OH, 1 BH at net)... the BH at net was a net chord dribbling drop shot
- 8 second 'volleys' (1 FHV, 4 BHV, 2 OH, 1 FH at net)... the FH at net was a running-down-drop shot
- 1 third volley (1 BHV)
- 1 fourth volley (1 OH)

- FH passes - 2 inside-out (1 return)
- regular FH - 1 cc
- BH passes - 3 cc, 1 dtl/inside-out and 1 inside-in return
- regular BH - 1 cc return

Errors (excluding serves and returns)
Becker 18
- 5 Unforced (2 BH, 1 FHV, 2 BHV)
- 13 Forced (8 BH, 3 FHV, 1 FH1/2V, 1 BHV)... with 1 BH running-down-drop-shot at net
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 46

Ivanisevic 41
- 17 Unforced (4 FH, 3 BH, 6 FHV, 3 BHV, 1 OH)... with 1 FH pass attempt, 2 FH at net & 1 BH at net
- 24 Forced (11 FH, 4 BH, 1 FH1/2V, 7 BHV, 1 BH1/2V)
- Unforced Error Forcefulness Index 52.9

(Note 1: All 1/2 volleys refer to such shots played at net. 1/2 volleys played from other parts of the court are included within relevant groundstroke numbers)

(Note 2: the Unforced Error Forcefulness Index is an indicator of how aggressive the average UE was. The numbers presented for these two matches are keyed on 4 categories - 20 defensive, 40 neutral, 50 attacking and 60 winner attempt)

Net Points & Serve-Volley
Becker was...
- 65/84 (77%) at net, including...
- 63/78 (81%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 39/46 (85%) off 1st serve and...
- 24/32 (75%) off 2nd serve
- 0/1 forced back

Ivanisevic was...
- 66/102 (65%) at net, including...
- 65/99 (66%) serve-volleying, comprising...
- 36/51 (71%) off 1st serve and...
- 29/48 (60%) off 2nd serve
- 1/2 forced back/retreated

Match Report
Fast court and overwhelming bulk of match is about humongous serving by both players, supported by virtually 100% serve-volleying that leaves returner with next to no chance. Since both players do it, it largely cancels out. What little play that leaves - mostly easy volleys and very difficult passing chances - Becker is significantly better at (as much for Ivanisevic being not good as Becker being particularly good) and he's maybe shades matters on return too

Both players serve-volley off all first serves. Goran stays back of just 1 second serve (a point he loses), Becker does so 8 times, winning 4. Not that it matters much - he's serve-volleys off 80% second serve points - but why? he's winning 75% serve-volleying (not counting the 2 aces), whereas staying back, point is more in the air. Goran whacks a BH cc return winner on 1 such point and comes to net to pummel away a BHV winner on another. Boris serve-volleys off all second serves on grass unless he has obvious reasons not too... these conditions and the way play goes isn't any different

131/250 or 52.4% of all points are unreturned serves and double faults, divided about equally between the two on both fronts. Both players numbers are all credit to the server... nobody could return much against serving of the sort they both dish out. 18 double faults is high too but its a good bargain for all the cheap unreturned points

With that many unreturned serves, everything else is relegated to back-burner and unlikely to lead break making superiority. Odds of the breaks going Boris' way though are higher than Goran's - he's better at everything

Serve & Return
Skimming over the serve a bit other than to say its overwhelmingly strong from both players

Serving patterns near identical -
- to FH - Boris 42%, Goran 40%
- to BH - both 51%
- to Body - Boris 7%, Goran 9%

... and Boris serving at 57% to Goran's 55%
Boris with 22 aces, Goran 21 - both with 2 second serves
Goran has 4 service winners to Boris' 0... that's more a reflection on effort put into returns. Boris more or less does his best to return at all times, Goran occasionally does less than that. Note Goran with a Behind-Back return error. He's aced once trying it too

Double faults - Boris 8, Goran 10
Unreturned rate - Boris 44.8%, Goran 45.5%

With Boris making full effort to return, maybe Goran just edges matters on the serve. Not important, both are deadly is the gist and seperating the two is splitting hairs

Initially, Boris errs a bit in going too close to lines with first serves and missing. No need. Goran runs through aces without doing so. At their power, normal wide placed is more than good enough
Boris adjust to that tune, raises his percentage and is better for it. His ability to stretch and reach some wide returns also causes Goran to go closer to lines at times, thus missing more first serves. He takes to guessing a bit too. Goran doesn't seem to. What do you have to lose by guessing? You wouldn't be able to return a wide serve in either direction from starting point anyway

And reading patterns. Boris runsaround body second serves to hit FHs in deuce court as Goran predictably delivers these. Boris himself has no pattern to predict

Boris perhaps underdoes the body serving. He goes for them more near the end, but for most of match, barely uses them. They're among the most troublesome serves for Goran to return. He regularly can't get out the way and just fends ball off to side or well short of net

The few returns that are put in play almost always leaves easy volleys or groundstrokes at net for the server. Boris is in better position to deal as the server, near enough to net to volley or fall back to hit groundstroke. Goran's more often in awkward no-man's land

Damaging, power or/and low returns are rare. Goran probably gets a few more off


Hall of Fame
Play - Net vs Pass
Most returns leave easy volleys or at least, comfortable ones first up. Goran is often not in position for first volley because the serve is too fast for him to have reached

Neither player are great on the volley. And neither have to be. Against what they're faced with, one might expect to see systematic stream of first volley winners. Instead, Boris has 8/19 first volley winners, while Goran's number is 10/20

Doesn't matter much. Volleys are still easy enough that placing them away is routine, leaving very difficult passes. Neither player can get much done on the pass either - it would have had to be fantastic passing for that not to be so

Becker though misses very little. Just 3 volleying UEs by him and 5 UEs total. 3 of them are in the first 5 games of match, which means he only made 2 more UEs in remaining 37 games
Goran is far looser with 13 volley UEs. Including 3 groundstrokes at net, which are about as easy a shot as you can get in forecourt first up. He tends to go for cute drop shot first groundstrokes at net... its not necessary - and he's prone to missing

Not many difficult volleys have to be faced. Goran does get off some hefty regulation returns down the middle that aren't easy to control. Becker makes them all without placing them well. He doesn't place regulation volleys well overall, leaving Goran shots at pass and only leaves very difficult running passes against easy volleys (which are the bulk, and easy to do).

Goran for his part, does decently against the tough volley. Better than I'd have expected seeing how he does against the easy and regulation ones. Not great by any means, but makes as many as he misses

The standout pass is Boris FH. Note 0 FH errors by him - forced or otherwise, while he has 8 FEs on BH. Goran avoids it as much as possible, wisely. The 8 BHV (including 1 BH1/2V) FEs he has are mostly against Boris FH cc. By contrast, he has 0 on FHV, but misses easy ones on that side 6 UEs, to just 3 on BH

These volleying FEs tend to relatively makeable - low-ish or wid-ish balls, as opposed to flagrantly hard shots

Just 5 volleying FEs by Boris. He faces fewer tough volleys but makes them better. And Goran can't follow up with a point finishing pass, somewhat due to Becker's net coverage afterwards

In nutshell, Boris the better volleyer by far. Goran loose enough that one might expect him to eventually lose serve missing a few in a row

Match Progression
Goran's serve is almost untouchable in first. High in count of 64%, he doesn't go too close to lines. 8 aces and 2 service winners for him in the set - including back to back 2nd serve aces. Boris by contrast goes close to lines and misses. Understandably, because Goran's hits hefty returns against whatever he can reach

Curiously, Boris handles the heavier returns well but doesn't deal decisively with the easier ones. Not quite plopping them back in play, but also not punching them through or well away from Goran

Good game by Goran to break. A lob forces Boris back and Goran slaps away a FH cc winner from near service line, an elegantly flicked FH inside-out pass winner and a low wide pass forcing a FHV error are among the points he wins

Becker returns more comfortably in second set, helped by Goran's percentage falling. Set is still thoroughly serve dominated with no break points til the last game when Becker breaks. Couple of Becker BH return winners (1 cc, 1 dtl), couple of Goran mistakes (FHV miss to slightly wide ball and double fault down set point)

In third set, Goran starts getting a bit lazy on some returns. Can't blame him too much for that... serious or not, wouldn't make much difference, particularly with Boris holding steady on the volley. By contrast, Becker keeps focus on all returns. Given Goran's lax volleying, potential benefits for his approach is richer than it would be for Goran

Starting middle of set and going into start of fourth set, Goran faces break points in 3 successive service games lasting 6, 14 and 12 points. Goran doesn't falter unduly on volleying, but tends to miss the makeably difficult ones. He also starts playing very quickly, with barely 5 seconds passing between points

Becker continues to be able to create more chances in 4th set. Goran gets to 0-40 in game 4 by forcing back to back FHV errors, but Becker responds with 3 aces on the trot and a FHV winner

Boris commands the tiebreak, moving to 6-1 with 2 mini-breaks. Goran misses easy FHV to start the game and a strong return + FH dtl passing winner by Boris leads to it. Boris double faults for the 8th time on his first match point on serve, but wraps it up with FHV winner point after

Summing up, a highly serve-bottish match likely to - and does - come down to a few odd points. Becker makes more effort on return, which makes a small difference and is far more secure on the volley to be the player more likely to come out ahead. And does

Unreturnable strong serving from both players. That aside, solid from Boris, less than that from Goran

Stats for Becker's semi with Pete Sampras -
Stats for pair's '96 Grand Slam Cup final -